Damon Casetta-Stubbs is a 6’4” right handed pitcher who was drafted by the Seattle Mariners with their 11th round pick in the 2018 MLB baseball draft. The tall righthander, who is listed at 225 pounds, was drafted out of Vancouver, Washington. At the time of the draft he was 18 years old and just had finished his high school career. The Seattle Mariners persuaded Damon with a $325,000 signing bonus to forego his college career at Seattle University to sign with them.
Damon has a different windup compared to most pitchers these days. He goes with the same old-school overhead pump every time he pitches. He credits that to his Grandfather Ray Casetta who unexpectedly passed away this past May. Damon’s Grandfather played a huge part in his life. Besides having such a huge and positive influence on Damon’s life, he was the first one to teach him how to play baseball. Damon learned how to pitch from his Grandfather when he was six years old. Ray would take Damon every day after school to the batting and pitching facility several times a week when he was growing up. Damon’s mother Gina Casetta used to catch his bullpen sessions when he was growing up until the age of 12. When your mom catches your bullpen sessions that has got to be a pretty special moment. Let’s not forget Damon’s dad Mike who also helped coach Damon and is another huge reason why Damon is who he is today.
Growing up, Damon played with kids older than him but it didn’t ever influence him as an athlete or a human being. He succeeded at every level of baseball and was a team player on and off the field. Damon rarely took a day off when it came to playing baseball in some capacity. He attended King’s Way Christian School from grades 8 to 12. In his sophomore year in high school he committed early to play baseball at Seattle University.
Damon’s parents Mike and Gina have many memories of their boy and took time to share some with Seattle Sports Union. They told me that in high school, because of his early commitment to Seattle University, Damon was quite motivated. He continued to improve and stay true to his good nature. Damon always seemed to stay close to home, away from any parties or trouble that might bring him. The Casetta-Stubbs home became the safe place for the baseball team to hangout without any worries of the boys compromising their values. In high school, Damon hit 94 mph on the radar gun. He also hit back to back home runs as a hitter. Gina Casetta joked with the scouts that one day her boy will become the next 2-way player. Eventually word got out about Damon and the scouts showed up. When that happened, Damon hit 96 mph on the radar gun (they later found out it was 97 mph). We knew something special was happening here. Let’s not forget that Damon’s faith was quite important to him since he was a little boy. One of his favorite bible verses is Luke 18:27 “what is impossible with man is possible with God”. It really says so much!
As we all can see, Damon is a blessed young man. We were fortunate to sit down with Damon Casetta-Stubbs recently for an exclusive one-on-one interview to find out just a little bit more.
SSU: How are you Damon? So nice to finally meet you and get the chance to pick your brain for information your fans have been wanting to know about you all summer!
DCS: Ha, ha! It’s nice to finally meet you as well. I’m truly sorry we couldn’t talk sooner as you know but thanks for meeting up with me. I’m doing great, thanks for asking.
SSU: How long have you been a baseball player? Did you always want to be a pitcher?
DCS: Pretty much all my life, as far back as I can remember. My grandfather had a huge part in my baseball career. Yes, I always wanted to pitch.
SSU: Obviously, you played baseball growing up. Are there any other sports you played in high school, perhaps football?
DCS: Football wasn’t really my thing even though my best friend Beau Braden wanted me to. Baseball was my sport. I played high school ball and played summer ball as well. I also played golf and continue to play golf up to this day.
SSU: I must ask! What is your handicap?
DCS: I really don’t have a handicap. When I play, I usually shoot around an 85!
SSU: Wow, I’m impressed. Before we move on, we have some friends that we have in common. Care to comment? I’m hoping to meet them next weekend in Pullman.
DCS: I don’t mind at all. The Braden family are like my second family. I love them dearly. Beau Braden is my best friend since like second grade. His parents Jody and Debbie are amazing. Wait, you are a Coug?
SSU: *laughs* yes, I am.
DCS: I went to the Apple Cup last year. It was awful! I just got soaked. First it rained, then it snowed. I was so cold that I never recovered from that. *laughs* We ended up leaving that night after the game and headed home. I had a great experience except for the weather. I hope to never experience that again. *laughs*
SSU: I totally understand. You had an amazing high school career. Are there any moments that stand out?
DCS: I can think of several but perhaps one that I can not forget was winning the state title my Junior year in high school. There wasn’t a single moment that season that I will never forget. We were a small school and to be able to travel around an achieve what we did, it was outstanding!
SSU: You committed to Seattle University in high school? Why there and why so early?
DCS: I loved what they had to say and what they had to offer. Coach Donnie and Coach Kirby are great guys and have a good thing going. Coach Kirby is over at UW now, but I have nothing to say but amazing things about both gentlemen and their programs. When I got drafted and de-committed, they were very understanding.
SSU: Do you plan on going back to school one day and getting your degree?
DCS: I just started up school. I am taking something like 12 credits and majoring in business management.
SSU: Draft day, where were you and what was your reaction?
DCS: There was lot of stress on draft day but that was expected. I didn’t expect to be drafted day one, but I did on day 2. On day 2 I received offers but no phone call, so the stress returned for my parents and me, but we got over it. God has a plan and we knew that. When I got the call from Seattle it was on day 2. I was shopping with my family believe it or not at Walmart. *laughs* We were shopping for my grad party. They told me if I was available on day 3 then they were taking me. It turns out in round 11 on day three they chose my name. I was a proud Seattle Mariner. They sent over a couple Mariners officials on day three which included one of their top scouts. It turned out I played with one of his sons growing up in baseball, small world. My agent eventually negotiated my contract and a few weeks later I was a Seattle Mariner.
SSU: How was your first season of pro ball?
DCS: I ended up only throwing 6 innings, but it was a good thing. It was very mentally and physically challenged but it was super cool. It was a great learning experience.
SSU: This year you got assigned to Everett, Washington. Thoughts?
DCS: Well first I started out 2019 in Modesto and then in West Virginia. It was quite an eye opener. My first three starts were great than the next three went south on me. I learned you can’t get comfy in this business. It will always be a learning curve for sure. When I heard I was going to Everett I was ecstatic!! To be able too play so close to my home in Vancouver, Washington I was so overwhelmed with joy. My host family turned out to be people that my family and I are friends with, and we haven’t seen in a while. I am truly blessed.
SSU: I have watched you many times in your bullpen warmups and on the mound. You seemed so relaxed. I have never seen someone in all my years to be so friendly and chatting away during his bullpen session yet be so productive on the mound. Plus, the fact you always seem to have a smile on your face. What is your secret?
DCS: I used to not be like this, but my ways seem to work. Failure doesn’t bother me. I’m always laid back. I enjoy what I do, and it doesn’t pay to be serious. I know how to do my job and I’m happy doing it. This will always be me no matter what.
SSU: How many pitches does Damon Casetta-Stubbs currently have? What is your out pitch? How fast do you throw?
DCS: I currently have five pitches. I throw a 2-seam and a 4-seam fastball. I also have a slider, a curve ball and a change-up. My out pitch is my slider. I can usually top out in the low to mid-nineties.
SSU: All summer long you have had a following of family and friends. Care to discuss?
DCS: Being so close to home is the best thing I can ever ask for. My parents and my family and friends have journeyed up here. On my trips to Oregon they all seemed to have come up, perhaps as many as two-hundred people. What a thrill it has been for me. It just makes me want to get better and better. I love my family and consider myself very lucky and blessed for this to be happening to me.
SSU: Congratulations on making the All-Star team. Care to comment?
DCS: Of course! Thank you. It was the best experience of my young career. My family traveled down, and I met some incredible people there. It wasn’t my best outing, but I learned from it. There was so much talent there on both teams!
SSU: Besides Funko Field in Everett, what is your next favorite pro stadium you have played in?
DCS: Great question, probably earlier in my career we played against Asheville. Their stadium was pretty much old school.
SSU: Who do you model your game after? What player in MLB can you compare yourself to?
DCS: That is a tough question. Even though he throws left-handed, probably Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants or even righthander Matt Cain. I was a huge San Francisco Giant fan and Seattle Mariner fan growing up. King Felix and Tim Lincecum were perhaps two other pitches I admired and tried to copy my game after. I saw Felix Hernandez pitch at least twenty times growing up.
SSU: What do you plan on doing in the off-season?
DCS: Besides school I will probably play some golf and go work out at the baseball high performance camp (New Athlete) while I wait for the Mariners to tell me what is next. (Damon also likes to play cards, games and spend quality time with his family including his older brother Dominick. Damon also is a dog lover).
SSU: Care to talk about your coaching staff this season?
DCS: My pitching coach Ari is amazing. He came in new to this organization. Ari has done an amazing job. Louis came in to manage (can’t believe he’s only 25) and has done a great job. He really relates to all the players. I have nothing but respect and have learned a lot from all of them.
SSU: What good things would your teammates say about you? How about your best buddy Beau Braden?
DCS: I would like to say that they think I’m a positive and happy person who enjoys every day of what it brings us. As for my best buddy Beau, I’m not sure what he would say. *laughs* I love this team and I hope that they all knew I respected each one of them like they were family to me. 2019 was a great season for me and I hope for my teammates.
SSU: Who’s playing your life story when they make your movie (trust me, this guy has a movie coming, Seattle Sports Union could have written their first book on Damon Casetta Stubbs if they wanted to).
DCS: LOL! Great question!! I would prefer Denzel Washington but most likely it would have to be Matt Damon! I love them both but would prefer Denzel.
SSU: Last question Damon. When your professional career is over, what will Damon Casetta-Stubbs be doing?
DCS: I honestly don’t know. I have no clue right now; I plan on taking each day as it comes. God has a plan. Thanks, guys, for the interview. It was incredible meeting you. Go Frogs!
Thanks Damon! We wish you all the best in your major league career and beyond. What a pleasure it was meeting you. Watch out Mariner Nation, this guy has a bright future in this organization. Keep your eye out for the 6’4” right-hander from Vancouver. That bright smile will soon be climbing the ladder of this organization (as long they don’t trade him)! Thank you to your beautiful parents for providing us some things about your life story as well.